Art and Wellness: Creative Aging

This video features the ongoing collaboration between The Phillips Collection and Iona Senior Services. The program encourages older adults (many of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia), along with their families and caregivers, to make connections and access personal experiences and long-term memories through gallery conversations and hands-on art therapy.

In November, the Phillips opened  Art and Wellness: Creative Aging for Arts & Health Month and National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The exhibition features over 80 artworks created as a part of the program.

Our colleagues at Iona created this video to celebrate the opening reception for the exhibition, which brought over 100 participants to the museum, including many artists and their families. One family expressed, “Thank you for an amazing exhibit. We appreciate your grace and kindness. You inspire us.” Another attendee said, “Great show! Looks like the Iona participants were having fun, as well as having memories and thinking about elements of some works of art.”

If you’re interested in more information about the artworks in the video or the Art and Wellness program, please contact education@phillipscollection.org.

Capturing a Moment

Two visitors sharing a moment at the Phillips during our Creative Aging program. Photo: James Brantley

Two visitors sharing a moment at the Phillips during our Creative Aging program. Photo: James R. Brantley

Everyone once in a while I see a photograph from one of our programs that stops me in my tracks. James R. Brantley recently took the image above during one of our Creative Aging programs with Iona. This program offers older adults (many of whom suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia), along with their families and caregivers, the opportunity to connect with each other through guided conversations about art at the Phillips. These individuals then continue processing their responses in the art therapy studio at Iona.

This photograph is a powerful reminder to me. It serves as a testament of how powerful art can be in creating shared and loving experiences.

 

Art IS Therapy, on View at GWU

Installation of Creative Aging exhibition at GW's Alexandria campus. Photos: Margaret Collerd.

Installation of Creative Aging exhibition at The George Washington University. Photos: Margaret Collerd.

Four years ago, a conversation with Lisa Garlock and Heidi Bardot from The George Washington University’s Art Therapy Program helped inform my thinking on a new initiative for the museum. They introduced me to Iona’s Wellness & Arts Center, and since then Iona has become a key partner in our programs for older adults. Given GWU’s role in the origins of the program, I was thrilled when Lisa proposed to install our Creative Aging exhibition at the art gallery on campus. So if you didn’t get a chance to catch the display here last fall, head over to the Alexandria Graduate Education Center where it is on view through late August.